Naming names leaves locals lost

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The Independent Online

The towns are familiar: Newquay, Hemel Hempstead, Grantham and Telford. But could you place Restormel, Dacorum, South Kesteven and the Wrekin?

Apparently not. For such is the worry that our oddly named councils will flummox visitors, tourism officers in New-quay, Restormel, have refused to carry out campaigns that do not carry the town's name first.

"If we did that then the first thing that people would say when they heard the word would be, `What on earth is it?' and then, `Where is it?'," said Paul Wright, senior tourism officer for the area.

"It wouldn't mean anything to anybody, and yet Newquay is one of the top five British holiday resorts."

At least local people have a regional landmark, Restormel Castle, that they can use to attempt to justify its origin, which Mr Wright says is linked with the history of the Black Prince in the 14th century. Not so in Hertfordshire, where some local interviewees were baffled by the name of their council.

"Oh dear, I haven't a clue," apologised a member of staff at Kings angley School in Kings angley, Dacorum. "I've lived in the village since 1976 and it has always been called Dacorum council - it is just something you accept."

South Kesteven, the local authority area that covers the towns of Grantham, Bourne and Stamford, equally mystified some of its employees.

"I know that it is connected with the old county name of the area - Kesteven and the Hollands - but I couldn't tell you why or where it came from," said Stephen Taylor of Grantham library. "I have no idea."